Jesse Delgado will square off against Penn State's Nico Megaludis for the first time since defeating him in the national finals last season.
Jan. 23, 2014
Illinois Probable Starters
125 1/4 Jesse Delgado, 14-1, Jr.
133 11/11 Zane Richards, 12-2, r-Fr.
141 -/- John Fahy, 9-6, r-Fr.
149 15/19 Caleb Ervin, 2-3, r-So.
157 15/12 Zac Brunson, 16-4, r-Fr.
165 11/12 Jackson Morse, 15-2, r-Jr.
174 18/- Tony Dallago, 13-4, r-Sr.
184 -/- Nikko Reyes, 12-6, r-Fr.
197 5/4 Mario Gonzalez, 7-0, r-Sr.
-OR- -/- Jeff Koepke, 7-6, r-So.
HWT -/- Christopher Lopez, 10-9, r-So.
Rankings are listed in W.I.N., Intermat
Friday's meeting between the Illini and the Nittany Lions is the 15th in series history, with Illinois leading 9-5. Penn State has won the last three matchups, most recently a 37-0 victory at Huff Hall on Feb. 3, 2013.
Illinois and Michigan State have met 60 times since 1946, with the Spartans leading the series 40-17-3. The Illini have won eight of the last 10 matchups, including a 26-13 victory on Jan. 22, 2012.
Tony Dallago has reentered the rankings at 174 pounds after two straight wins, including an overtime decision against #16 Mark Martin of Ohio State. Dallago is 2-1 against ranked opponents this season, and holds a 13-4 overall record.
The Illini are ranked in every weight class but two, with Jesse Delgado (125) ranked the highest at No. 1 in the country. Zane Richards (133) and Jackson Morse (157) are ranked just outside the top-10, while Caleb Ervin (149) and Zac Brunson (157) each take the No. 15 spot. Both Mario Gonzalez (197) and Steven Rodrigues (141) have not competed since the Midlands Championships on Dec. 29-30, but maintain career high rankings at No. 5 and No. 13, respectively.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
#10 Illinois at #1 Penn State
125: #1 Jesse Delgado (ILL) vs. #3 Nico Megaludis (PSU)
Delgado will face Megaludis for the fifth time in his career on Friday. The two met three times last season, with Megaludis winning the first matchup in Illinois' dual against the Nittany Lions. Delgado has won the last two, as he defeated Megaludis in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championships, then again in the NCAA Championships finals match.
"I'm just going to go out there and wrestle my match and do what I do best," said Delgado. "We're tied at 2-2 and I wrestled him in the national finals. I guess if you could say I had a rival it would be him."
#10 Illinois at Michigan State
165: #11 Jackson Morse (ILL) vs. Bobby Nash (MSU)
This will be the first career matchup between Morse and Nash. A native of Alto, Mich., Morse grew up an hour away from East Lansing, and will wrestle in his home state for the first time since January of 2012.